Perfect start for German and Russian girls at the U19 in Porto
Schneider and Arnholdt defeated the Zilberman-twins from Israel (21-8, 21-10) and China’s Jiaxi Wang and Lvwen Yuan (21-15, 21-19).
“It was a good start in the tournament”, Arnholdt. “We had a lot of fun and it was a good way to get warmed up.” Schneider added: “It was a good way to get used to these conditions and our game, because it is our third tournament together.”
The strong serving German girls were not really pushed in their first match against Israel, but they got into a bit of trouble in the second set against the Chinese. Lots of their attacks went out of bounce and at one point they were even trailing two points.
After a time-out to regroup the 18-year olds turned the second set around and Schneider scored the winning point at their second match point. “Our power was gone a little bit”, she said. “We had to go back to our basics and to the play we actually played in our first game.”
Schneider just missed out of the podium last year, finishing 4th with Lara Schreiber. “I am not going to say that I want to finish first or second now, I just want to play the best volleyball I can play and see what we can get out of it.”
“In the group the level is not that high”, she continued, “because some of the qualification teams came in. But towards the quarterfinals the level will be very good because there are players like Eduarda (of Brazil). I think the level is actually really balanced and the one that has the best game spirit and the most fun, will win this, I think.”
Schneider and Arnholdt have another important event to go to soon, the Youth Olympic Games in August in China. But the U19 World Championships are not just a practice event for them.
“This is also really important to us”, Arnholdt said. “But first we want to have a good finish in the group and then we will see, take it game-by game.”
Russia also in control
Last year Schreiber lost the semifinal to Russia’s Nadezda Makroguzova and Ana Gorbunova, who ended up with the silver medal. Makroguzova also changed partners and has been playing with Daria Rudykh for about a year now.
The Russian girls booked two wins over Ecuador’s Briggitte/Mishelle (21-14, 21-13) and Cajigas/Bernier from Puerto Rico (21-18, 21-16) on Wednesday.
“This was a good start”, Rudykh said. “We want to end up on the podium. First place would be best.”
Makroguzova: “I think the level last year was better, there was another team from USA and Brazil. I think we will have better chances this year.”